At 6-foot- 5, Michael Massari, chief sales officer for Caesars Entertainment Corp., is hard to miss. So are his accomplish- ments. Since 1998, he has helped elevate Caesars Entertainment
into a national leader for meetings and events. Now, behind a wave of
brand-redefining investments in new venues, experiences and technology, he and the company are aiming even higher. CAESARS FORUM
( www.caesarsforum.com) alone makes an imperial statement about
“With meetings and events at the heart of what we do, CAESARS
FORUM was created to provide current and prospective customers with
access to the best meeting space in the world,” Massari said.
Slated for 2020, the $375 million project will create 550,000 square
feet of conferencing and event space for 10,000 delegates, seamlessly
connected to Caesars’ open-air LINQ Promenade. Inspired by ancient
Rome’s places of public assembly, the venue’s dazzling dimensions
include the world’s largest two pillarless ballrooms, each 110,000 square
feet, and adjacent 100,000-square-foot outdoor events plaza. Plus, it
will feature direct access to 8,500-plus rooms at Harrah’s Las Vegas,
the LINQ and Flamingo hotels, with proximity to Caesars’ 20,000 rooms
The project signifies Caesars’ entrepreneurial moxie.
“Las Vegas is a place of great independence and can-do spirit,”
Massari said. “We hire smart, talented people and give them the latitude
to think outside of the norm and try new ideas.”
The team is living up to the opportunity.
Opened in November 2018, the $20 million FLY LINQ ( www.caesars.
com/linq/fly-linq) zipline sends 10 seated or flying riders 12 stories
above the length of the LINQ Promenade. Caesars is also partnering with
Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell and a leading Hollywood visual effects
team to create Kind Heaven ( https://kindheaven.com), an immersive
Southeast Asian-inspired augmented reality experience.
Since 2014, Caesars has renovated 67 percent of its roughly 23,150
Vegas rooms, including some 3,735 rooms last year. These include
Flamingo Las Vegas ( www.caesars.com/flamingo-las-vegas). Turning 75
in 2021, the 3,500-plus-room heritage property unveiled a $90 million
revamp of 1,270 rooms and suites last April. This December saw the
debut of 14 unique bunk bed rooms and three upscale bunk bed suites,
part of a second-phase, $156 million, 976-room revamp.
Following last January’s smash debut of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, the British invasion of Caesars Palace continues with the anticipated
early 2019 debut of the buyout-capable, 100-capacity Vanderpump
Cocktail Garden from London-born TV personality and restaurateur Lisa
Last November, departing Caesars Entertainment CEO and President
Mark Frissora announced a 10-year extension of Caesars’ partnership
with Nobu in Las Vegas. Plans include refreshing Nobu Hotel Caesars
Palace’s 182 guest rooms and “innovative technology enhancements.”
NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens joined Frissora for the November
2018 debut of The Book ( www.caesars.com/linq/hotel/casino/sports-
book) at The LINQ Hotel & Casino. This socially driven next-generation
sports book features high-tech, high-touch technology and mobile op-
portunities such as virtual reality, self-serve beer taps and robot servers.
Groups can rent the entire 220-seat, 11,000-square-foot space, which
also features a dozen fully outfitted Fan Caves.
These “rentable living rooms” are the testing ground for Caesars’
experimental “Casino of the Future.” Pilot programs include smart-watch
applications that alert team members to loyalty guest arrivals and provide
their profiles for personalized service.
It’s all part of Caesars’ intentional transformation into a “digital first”
enterprise. Recently featured in CIO Magazine, the multimillion-dollar
initiative seeks to “optimize market opportunities for new revenue” and
position Caesars as a “digital leader in technology.” The enterprise-wide,
cloud-based effort includes a new lodging management system, new
360-degree customer view in Salesforce, and redesigned total rewards
app. Guests also rely on
Ivy, Caesars’ artificial in-telligence-powered virtual
flourish was forged in the
crucible of bankruptcy.
“We had to figure out
how to win without a full
set of resources, which
limited our spectrum and
said. “Going through
the process helped to
sharpen our strategic and
operational focus. It’s a
unique overlap that rarely
happens, but we emerged
with new tools to play
with, and it’s back to the fun.”
The exuberance is grounded in reality.
“It takes fiscal discipline to create something that never existed
before, like the world’s two largest ballrooms, or to renovate thousands of
hotel rooms,” Massari said. “People often differentiate between savings
or growth modes. I don’t find it that way—you are constantly in both.
Save the dumb money so you can spend the smart money.”
Caesars is also serious about safety.
“There’s relative security and absolute security,” Massari explained.
“Not every property has the people and resources for in-house emergency response teams, but in Las Vegas, at our properties and others,
we have both internal EMT and SWAT teams at the ready. While we are
not 100 percent safe—the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting taught us
that—our approach to security and new ways of thinking make us the
safest place to meet in Las Vegas.”
Caesars’ Execs Think Outside the Box
FLAMINGO LAS VEGAS BUNK BED ROOM RENDERING
CAESARS FORUM PLAZA